Microsoft has released an emergency patch for Windows XP, 7 and 8.1, plugging a critical zero-day vulnerability in its Internet Explorer (IE) web browser that is known to be leaving one in four web users vulnerable to cyber attacks.
The Internet Explorer update went live 10am PDT (6pm GMT). The vulnerability was discovered by security firm FireEye at the end of April and is known to affect the IE6 to IE11 web browser versions.
The vulnerability is particularly dangerous as it affects the older unsupported Windows XP as well as newer Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 versions of Microsoft's operating system (OS).
Microsoft officially ceased support for Windows XP on 8 April, warning users that they would no longer receive security updates for newly discovered vulnerabilities affecting the OS.
Microsoft Trustworthy Computing general manager Adrienne Hall, said the update is a one off and warned XP users not expect further security fixes from the company.
"Even though Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft and is past the time we normally provide security updates, we've decided to provide an update for all versions of Windows XP (including embedded) today," read the post.
"We made this exception based on the proximity to the end of support for Windows XP. Just because this update is out now doesn't mean you should stop thinking about getting off Windows XP and moving to a newer version of Windows and the latest version of Internet Explorer."
Attacks targeting Windows XP have been an ongoing concern within the security community, since Microsoft announced it would cease support. Experts from numerous companies warned V3 in March that hackers are likely to be hoarding zero-day XP exploits for a hacking frenzy later this year.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago